When fall comes it’s only natural to want to curl up under some blankets and stay inside. Instead, you could make the most of the season and indulge in food and drink that warms you from the inside out. Here are eight new Toronto restaurants you should be trying this season.
When Bar Volo closed to make way for a condo development, it seemed as though it had met a pretty typical fate alongside so many of the city’s other landmarks and famed establishments. But there’s good news: owners Tomas and Julian Morana opened another place in Little Italy. Though it’s not meant to replace Bar Volo (they’re planning to open back up in a new location), it’s definitely worth checking out. The 10-foot-wide Birreria Volo focuses on barrel-aged and saison brews, served alongside traditional Italian snacks like sardines and a Sicilian roasted vegetable peperonata dish.
Laylow took over the space that was left on College when the beloved brunch hangout Me and Mine closed its doors earlier this summer. With a name like Laylow it should come as no surprise that this dimly lit place is best suited to a casual night with friends. It has an eclectic menu of bar snacks, cheese and charcuterie, and shared plates like porchetta and eggplant barley risotto, which can be enjoyed alongside a selection of imported brews and hip-hop playing overhead.
J & J Bar-B-Que
If your summer was too packed to make it out to Kensington’s new Texas-style smokehouse, then you should definitely make it your mission for winter. It’s standing room only here, so we don’t advise making it your next date night, but serious carnivores won’t mind leaning along the counters out front for a chance to try something from J & J’s mouth-watering menu. The beef brisket, house-made sausages, and smoked cabbage are more than worth it.
The Belsize Public House
If you’re in Midtown check out The Belsize Public House, the latest by Harbord House owner John Oakes. This cozy pub’s menu is full of hearty dishes like mac and cheese, fish and chips, burgers, and mussels. When combined with the pub’s varnished driftwood, images of nature scenes, and a “Trail Mix” wine, you’ll have no trouble reminiscing about those warm summer nights spent at the cottage.
According to Colaba Junction’s website, they opened on the corner of Bay and College Streets in an attempt to break up “the monotony of food court meals for the daily office goers in Toronto’s financial district.” But the unique fare at Colaba Junction might be worth trekking to the area even if you don’t don a suit every day. Here you’ll find typical Indian dishes with a twist, like satay chicken tikka and kati rolls, inspired by the confluence of cultures found in the fashion-forward district of Colaba, India.
This narrow space on Ossington is filled with a mix of long, communal tables in the front and small, more intimate group tables in the back, where up to 65 guests can enjoy small sharing plates. Like many of the restaurants along Ossington, the menu promotes sharing and is heavy on alcohol. It also makes use of fresh, seasonal produce whenever possible and is influenced by the owners’ travels around the world, resulting in an eclectic mix of cuisine, including everything from crispy Cajun chicken and popcorn to classic Middle Eastern falafel.
Just east of Trinity Bellwoods is a trendy Scandinavian-style restaurant known as Canis, which is already making waves for its fresh, seasonal fare inspired by the Great White North, like beef short rib and duck for two. The colourful dishes—a mix of snacks, starters, and more substantial dinner plates—take centre stage amidst the minimalist 28-seat room filled with concrete and wood.
Inspired by the eateries run out of people’s homes in the Italian countryside, Masseria, which also means “farmhouse,” serves a sophisticated menu of Southern Italian fare at long, communal tables that fill half of the modern 2,300-square-foot space. The other half is dedicated to the kitchen and take-out bar, where patrons can order sandwiches, salads, one of twelve pre-designed pizzas, or their own personal creation.